3D fad but HD fodder for DTH owners, analyst warns

Joseph O'Halloran | 14-12-2010

The latest report by media analyst NSR is warning DTH operators not to get too influenced by the media pull of 3D and not to forget that HD offers a far more lucrative channel for them in the short and medium term at least.

It calculates that HD services will bring in close to $95 billion in revenues, representing 81% of total DTH subscription revenues, by 2019. The analyst says, “It is easy to see that while most reporters may choose to write about 3D more often than HD, DTH operators cannot afford to forget that the former is a fad (at least for now) while the latter is fodder.”

In its analysis of HD versus 3D, NSR criticises forecasts for the uptake of 3DTV sets, channels and thereby satellite transponders as being “flooded with hockey-stick curves full of hope.” It adds that this does not change the fact that more than 30% of the UK’s DTH subscribers are watching their favourite football teams on HD channels as of today and that global subscriber growth is actually driven by an ever-increasing demand for HD services.

NSR says that one of the biggest drivers for both HD and 3D will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and has no doubt that even though 3D growth in South America may be a bit slow getting off the block, there is no doubt that DTH operators will introduce the service to their elite clientele before the big kick off.

The analyst also says that it agrees with senior management at News Corp about being sceptical about the widespread adoption of 3D, and NSR subscribes to this view even with the 2012 London Olympics around the corner. It also points to the fact that a large part of the DTH world is yet to realise the full potential of HD and has only just been introduced in Africa, South America and South Asia.

Even though HD services may have become old news for the Western world, NSR says, they are predicted to grow at a CAGR of 25% over the next 10 years adding in absolute terms over 93 million HD subscribers between now and 2019. This translates into 13% of DTH subscribers that opt for HD services today growing to well over 51% by 2019.